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Daughters of Empire

Daughters of Empire is about home and family, and the struggle to make them away from the place where you were born and grew up, where others know who you are and you understand instinctively the ways of doing things.


Lakshmi Persaud
Trinidad and Tobago, United Kingdom
Date published
30 Apr 2012

It is a tale of two sisters: Ishani, who stays in Trinidad developing the family business, and Amira, who must negotiate, on behalf of the family, the intricacies of relationships with their neighbours in the London suburb of Mill Hill. Ishani is a richly comic creation (in a novel of quietly subversive humour), a kind-hearted manipulator determined to keep a grasp on her younger sister, not least to intervene in the lives of her nieces, which – for a good Trinidadian Hindu – means making strategic marriages within the clan. For Amira, there is soul-searching: about how far she can sacrifice her own needs to those of her husband and three daughters – and how far she can expect to keep her daughters away from the seductions of the individualistic lifestyles that surround them. And, as the novel reflects in its structure, those lives – Anjali’s, Satisha’s and Vidya’s – become quite separate stories over which Amira has no control.

Lakshmi Persaud was born in 1939 in Trinidad. She is the author of Butterfly in the Wind, Sastra and For the Love of My Name. She lives in London.

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Lakshmi Persaud

Lakshmi Persaud was born in 1939 in the small village of Streatham Lodge, later called Pasea Village in what was then still rural Tunapuna, Trinidad. Her father was a shopkeeper and her home was hard-working, secure and increasingly prosperous. It was a devout Hindu home where pujas, kathas and other observances were regularly held. She attended the Tunapuna Government Primary School, St Augustine’s Girls’ High School and St Joseph’s Convent, Port of Spain. She records in Butterfly in the Wind the mental conflicts that attending a Catholic school caused for a Hindu girl.

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